EACJ halts Inter-University Council recruitment process

EAST African Court of Justice (EACJ) has granted an interim order, restraining the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) from recruiting Chief Research and Innovation Coordination Officer.

The EACJ First Instance Division granted the order against the recruitment process in respect to the position pending the determination of the main case whose reference is No.13 of 2017.

In the main case whose determination is pending, the applicant, Professor Elias Bizuru seeks the nullification of IUCEA’s decision to re-advertise the position for which he emerged the best candidate in the original advertisement and interview.

Professor Bizuru, a senior scientist specialising in plants diversity and taxonomy, completed his PhD studies in 2005 at Universite Libre de Bruxelles and thereafter became a senior researcher at former Institut de Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (IRST) in 2006.

The Application was filed with the court under Article 39 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (EAC) and Rule 73 of the EACJ Rules of Procedure 2013.

The respondent is an entity set up by Inter-University Council for East Africa Act, 2009. The ruling to grant the interim restraining order was issued by Lady Justice Monica Mugenyi (Principle Judge); Justice Dr Faustin Ntezilyayao (Deputy Principal Judge); Justice Fakihi Jundu; Justice Dr Charles Nyawello and Justice Charles Nyachae.

The parties present in court to receive the ruling were the applicant’s representative, Arnest William and Alex Mukunzi Ruharo for the respondent.

The court said it was satisfied that the application had been conceded by the respondent (IUCEA) through its supporting affidavit in reply, having agreed to suspend and halt the recruitment process, pending the case determination.

The court therefore did not subscribe to Counsel to the Community (CTC), Dr Anthony Kafumbe’s contention during the hearing of the application, arguing that the submission is moot. IUCEA’s affidavit in reply reads: “The sitting of the 25th Executive Committee of IUCEA, the committee was informed by IUCEA Secretariat that following advice from Counsel to the Community, the recruitment process in respect to the position of Chief Research and Innovation Officer had been halted pending settlement of the matter at the EACJ.

“That IUCEA Secretariat has fully complied with the directive of the Executive Committee to halt the recruitment process and that, no shortlisting or interviewing process has been carried out in regard to filling the position of the Chief Research and Innovation Coordination Officer till to date.

The applicant’s complaint in the application was that IUCEA advertised the position, which he applied for and emerged the best candidate in the respondent conducted interview.

However, on November 17, 2017, the respondent readvertised the position despite the fact that it had already been served with the copy of the main reference.

The applicant therefore seeks the interim order to restrain the respondent from undertaking any recruitment in respect of the position.

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